RHYTHMS, RHYMES AND SEASONS
“Every labourer is a father, his labour his child. Choose your project wisely and achieve it worthily.
Once a man has decided on his life’s work and is assured that in doing the work for which he is best endowed and equipped, he is fulfilling a vital need, what he then needs is faith and integrity, compiled with a courageous spirit, so that no longer preferring himself to the attainment of his task, he may address himself to the problems he must solve in order to be effective.” H.I.M Haile Selassie I.
Nature has ways of articulating her rhythm, her heartbeat. In turn, everything rhymes with this flow and the course of events unfolds. Our willing oneness with this pulse determines whether we are within the order, or wallowing in chaos. Still, life’s cycle spins.
|Torrential rains over the land|
Things have gone full circle and the rains are here with us. How the heavens pour! It is time for the short rains. In this part of the tropics, there are two defined rain seasons, the ‘long’ and the ‘short’. The former commences mid-March running to early June, while the latter occurs between mid-October and early December.
The long rains signal the main planting season. During the short rains farmers may opt to sow, especially when the crop is not projected to go beyond the next February, when you have to be preparing for the next main season. Alternatively you plant crops which germinate with the short rains and fruit with the long rains, the annuals. Every opportunity of course allows for the planting of trees.
|Volunteers planting lemon trees|
Here at the Shiriki Organization farm in Maragua, Kenya, we glory in the commencement of a new season, and all it brings with it. We have gone ahead and planted every single inch of this soil, to ensure optimum utilization. Owing to the fact that we are not absolutely tied to seasonal crops, we strive to take full advantage of the showers, putting in new crops and embracing the boost to the growing and long term crops.
With these rains, we have planted cassava, sorghum, kidney beans, cowpeas, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, hibiscus, lemongrass, pumpkin, and various vegetables. We have also transplanted our ‘bush’ tomatoes and chillie seedlings. In addition, we have planted trees from our nurseries, including lemon, sour sop, jackfruit, tree tomato and moringa.
|A patch planted with potatoes and banana|
Already there were crops planted off-season, which we have been tending through irrigation. Among these are arrowroots, maize, cassava, sugarcane, sorghum and different vegetables. Also growing are a variety of herbs, ginger, garlic, spring onion, coriander and more lemongrass. It is our intention to lease more lands with the next season to express the strengths with which we have been gifted.
Usually the most involving time on the land is when getting ready for a new planting session. It calls for tilling of the land, manure making and collection and seed preparation. As we continue restoring the natural state of land, we are also progressively inclining more towards conservation agriculture, where we will effect minimal disturbance of the soil as we plant. This will help preserve the minerals and organisms, which in addition to manure, mulching and crop rotation will ensure a more consummate ecosystem. There is less labour for the farmer too, as you don’t have to turn the soil on the whole farm or do massive weeding. Full mulching suppresses the weeds.
|Mosaic team at work|
After planting, when the rains are in full song, the farmer gets a respite from the farm work and one can concentrate on other endeavours, in our case, the arts. Currently the mosaic team is full steam ahead with a granite mural project. All the volunteers are fully engaged, weaving, making sandals, ornaments, cloth items and all the various other arts. Schools are out too, so there is no shortage of learners.
During this period there are intensified efforts to reach out to art buyers, through, fairs, local and international markets, various marketing procedures and word of mouth.
|Mandrill-finished mosaic art product|
It is also a season where the volunteers take time to organize events and exhibitions.These serve both as forums to share the various aspects of natural living with our communities, as well as provide opportunities for trading our arts. Music rhythms and rhymes galore.
This Dear Reader, is your official invitation…
LOVE and LIGHT always.